First Parish families may apply for funds to help defray costs of Unitarian Universalist programs: Children and Youth Scholarship Application.
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Welcome all! We are glad you are here.
The First Parish Religious Education Committee hopes that our program provides children with opportunities to…
- develop a sense of wonder about the world
- explore a wide variety of religious and cultural traditions
- express their thoughts and feelings
- make and display their own creative work
- learn to make responsible, healthy choices
- form lasting friendships with one another, and achieve a sense of group identity and pride in being a UU
- stay involved with our church community through high school and beyond
In addition, we hope to involve youth and adult leaders as classroom teachers to broaden their knowledge and experience of their faith and to build a bridge between the generations. Together, the First Parish Cooperative Religious Education Program will nurture the development of confident Unitarian Universalists.
One of the many things you may notice when you enter a classroom at First Parish Bridgewater is that the classes are multi-age. The classrooms are generally divided into 3-6 years; 6-9 years; 9-13 years; and high school aged. The children remain in these groupings for many years with the same teacher and with one another, building close relationships.
We invite you to join us in the classroom! Take a tour of the classrooms and curricula:
The nursery is located in the Lower Parish Hall and is open from 10 am to 12 pm. Children from birth through age 3 can be dropped off before the church service to allow ample transition time. Sometimes older ages start in the nursery at the beginning of the service — we work with each individual child to reach them fully.
There is an infant space/rest space for our youngest nursery children, and a toddler space as well. We have professional nursery staff dedicated to providing an awesome experience for children!
The Preschool-Kindergarten class meets in the larger classroom space in the Lower Parish Hall. The students can either begin in the nursery at the start of the service and join the class when they arrive; or join their families at the beginning of church and come down to class with all of the children when the congregation sings them out.
The Elementary group meets in the Upper Parish Hall — a large, flexible space that can be transformed for any type of class session. The students begin in church with their families and go up to their class when the children are sung out.
The Youth Group meets in the Hive — a modular unit next to the church building. The youth start in church with their families and move together to the Hive as the children and youth are sung out of the church service.
A Typical Sunday
Our church services begin at 10:30am, and every person starts in our sanctuary. The first fifteen minutes of the service includes our weekly announcements, a musical prelude, our opening rituals and chalice lighting, and most Sundays there is a time for all ages. Our children and youth remain in the sanctuary for the beginning of the service, and the group is sung out by the congregation to engage in their Religious Education classes. Parents are welcome to bring children to help them get settled.
We have church school classes in three locations in the church: The Upper Parish Hall is where the Elementary Aged children meet; The Lower Parish Hall is where the nursery and Preschool-Kindergarten children meet; and the Hive — a modular unit next to the church building — is where the Youth Group meets. Religious Education classes are comprised of groups that move together through the lifespan curriculum.
At 10:45 our classes are generally gathered. Each class has an opening ritual they follow each week, usually including opening words and a chalice lighting reflective of our church services. All classes share their joys and sorrows through a ritual.
The Preschool-Kindergarten and Elementary classes generally center around a story and include questions to help children and youth explore their own ideas and the ideas of their family, culture, and faith more thoroughly. After the story, activities are explored to understand the concept in another way. Sometimes there are choices of different activities, and we have a variety of independent activities that a child can always pick if they do not wish to participate in a group activity or the project does not appeal to them.
Classes end around 11:30, coinciding with the end of the church service. Our Preschool-Kindergarten and Elementary children are picked up by parents from their classrooms. Older youth are released into the social hall where we have coffee (not for the kids!), conversation, and a snack.
Some weeks, the children participate in the entire church service. Other weeks there may be a One Room Schoolhouse, where all children and youth gather together for multi-generational learning and activities. These changes in the schedule are listed on our 2018-2019 Religious Education Calendar.
If you or your child are new to First Parish, please complete our online registration, or see our Director of Religious Education to register your child for classes. If you have been coming for a while, also see the Director in order to update our records. We like to keep track of the ages, interests and special needs of our young people.
At First Parish we charge no fee for our classes. Our budget for supplies, curriculum and training is granted through the pledges of the church. Our church school is truly a cooperative Children’s Church — each working together for the benefit of all. Therefore, we need your support in many different ways:
- classroom teachers or aides
- nursery helpers
- snack providers
- “special activity” guests
- worship leaders
- chaperones and drivers for field trips
All adult volunteers are required to fill out a CORI request form.
Training and support is provided throughout the year. Please do not be shy. As they say, “many hands make light work.”
Leadership of R.E. programs at First Parish is provided by the Religious Education Committee and a professional Director of Religious Education. If you have questions about the First Parish Cooperative Religious Education Program, or would like more information, please feel free to contact
|Sara Williams, DRE
RE Committee Members
Jenny Donahue, Sonia D’Alarcao, Lisa Troy